The New Guard Of Central Otago Wine· Blog
Sep 3rd, 2012 | By Jayson Bryant | Category: Blog
The New Guard Of Central Otago Wine
They’ve ruffled some feathers, they continue look outside the square, and they are the envy of the region, and they’ve been making wine for less than 5 years. So who are these people?
Meet Misha’s Vineyard. Owned and operated by Misha and Andy Wilkinson. These guys are the new guard of Central Otago winemaking. What they did, and many could learn from, is find their markets before committing to making any wines. They found their channel to market before making a single bottle. They are the leading example for any new label entering the market today.
They found themselves at odds with many in the region. They hail from the corporate world, and not the traditional romantic small winery owner. Together they’re on a journey to make, and return a profit, which is extremely hard to do, Misha’s vineyard one of the premium labels of New Zealand wine.
The journey started over ten years ago. Misha and Andy started looking for a vineyard site and finally settled on a small area of Bendigo Station. It just happened to be one of the most idilic areas, frost free and free draining soils facing west. The position of the vineyard was critical. Finally in 2004 they started planting their vines.
Their corporate lives defined Misha’s Vineyard. They secured water rights and established a water company to irrigate, if necessary, their vineyard, and any other vineyards along the road. They’ve done so many things right that it’s hard to see how they will fail to achieve their dream.
They’ve employed the best that money can buy. Their winemaking is overseen by Olly Masters, ex Ata Rangi. Their viticulture was initially overseen by Robin Dicey, renowned for making Mount Difficulty what it is today. Today the viticulture is taken care of by Richard Williams. The sales and marketing, integral to any successful winery operation, is run by the husband and wife team who own the vineyard.
Misha Wilkinson cut her teeth in big corporate IT businesses. She worked for Intel and Dell Computers and recently she led the marketing team at Auckland City. These days she’s marketing her own wines, and she’ll use whatever channels are open to her. A great advocate of social media, leading the charge in New Zealand, Misha, and Andy to a lesser degree, are at the cutting edge of todays media technology.
Andy is all about business. He understands, and brings to the table, many of the attributes it takes to run a business. You’ll not find him making the wine, generally you won’t find him in the vineyard either, his role is running the business. This coupled with one of Central Otago’s best marketers makes for an exciting partnership for New Zealand wine.
When you visit the vineyard you can see just what hard work went into creating this landscape. They moved the earth, rocks, boulders, all for making it the best place in Central Otago to grow grapes. It’s this type of hard work and dedication, doing what they know best, that drives them to make the best wines of the region. They haven’t just concentrated on growing Pinot Noir but some very tasty white wines as well. They grown and make Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, and Riesling, and the less common Sauvignon Blanc.
The New Zealand wine industry needs characters like Misha and Andy to challenge the current way of thinking. I get the feeling that they are shackled by New Zealand Wine Growers, but who are equally able to work alongside them. If there were one small winery to watch out for it’d be Misha’s Vineyard. They are dynamic, and their wines are amazing too! They are chasing the holy grail with making Pinot Noir, and I think they’ll find it.
To find out more about Misha’s Vineyard follow her on Twitter and Facebook